It is not a dramatic charting of a whole new direction for the library. Instead, the new strategic plan recently unveiled by the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre is progressive, building on well-planned understanding about what a public library needs to be in the 21st century.
The document is an ambitious five-year plan for our local library, requiring the engagement of staff, board, the Town of Fort Frances and the community.
The board and staff need to be commended for creating this plan. The board understood that it was necessary to provide board and staff training to understand and implement incremental changes meeting the changing demographics of the community. In that, the board recognized that the purpose of the library in the 20th century remains the same today, but the delivery of services, programs, technologies has changed dramatically.
The plan has laid out the need to develop and implement enhanced technology training and services for the public. The plan understands that the need for printed books is diminishing, but that electronic collections need to grow for people adopting electronic readers and tablets.
The strategic plan makes it clear that the library must support science, technology, engineering and math (commonly referred to as STEM) and that collaborations with other groups are necessary to support learning in those fields in the community.
This is not a document that should collect dust on a bookshelf. Instead, this strategic plan should create a set of benchmarks to be used to evaluate improvements and goals over the next five years.